By: SBG San Antonio Staff
SAN ANTONIO (WOAI/ KABB) Authorities are investigating the scene where more than 50 suspected undocumented immigrants were found in a semi-truck on the Northeast side Tuesday night.
The scene was located just across the highway from the San Antonio International Airport.
📌BREAKING: Suspected undocumented immigrants discovered in tractor trailer on the city’s North Side, near Greenbrier and NE Loop 410. Agents passed out water & pizza, saying the majority are in good health. @DarianTrotter @News4SA @KABBFOX29 pic.twitter.com/KfKqjIdkJO— Darian Trotter (@DarianTrotter) June 13, 2018
San Antonio Fire Department Chief Charles Hood said 55 people were found inside the truck, including some minors. Five people were transported to the hospital for injuries they sustained while trying to run out of the truck. Hood said it appears no one suffered from dehydration, which he says is a better outcome than what happened in last summer's smuggling incident where 10 people died. He said luckily, all of those in the truck had bottles of water. Our cameras caught the moment an unknown person delivered boxes of pizza to the group.
The United States Department of Homeland Security tells us agents are on scene and the San Antonio Police Department is assisting, however, it is unknown who initially was called to the scene. This incident poses many questions of how the scene will be handled as there have been recent issues with the handling of similar situations.
Earlier on Tuesday, a federal report released to us detailed a federal agent's account of what happened during a similar incident late last year. On December 23, 2017, a citizen approached an officer and told him he had seen something strange in the 3400 block of Copeland. When the officer got there, he found 12 people in the back of an 18-wheeler. The driver and a companion were also there. The police officer, as is customary in smuggling cases, immediately called Homeland Security to assist. According to Homeland Security investigations, "They offered their assistance at the scene. SAPD decided the state would handle the matter."
In the federal report filed by the agent who responded to the scene, he states that Chief McManus told him he did not want the agent's federal Homeland Security badge to be seen by the 12 immigrants because he didn't want him to scare them. The agent also stated that when he offered to help to do the Spanish interviews since there was only one Spanish speaking officer available, the chief ignored him and walked away. The Texas Attorney General's Office is now investigating McManus to determine if he violated SB4, also known as the "sanctuary cities" law.
Federal authorities have released little information on Tuesday night's incident so it is unknown if it is a smuggling or trafficking investigation, if it is of any sort at all. Officials with the Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES) said they are on scene and ready to speak with those found in truck, but the group was taken away into Homeland Security custody and are not being released at this time.
Our reporter said when asked, some of those in the group said they were from Guatemala, Mexico, Honduras.